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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester music reviews

Christine Tobin: Sailing to Byzantium

Sailing to Byzantium at the RNCM

A collection of 12 poems by W B Yeats, set to music by Christine Tobin for the Manchester Literature Festival

Reviewed by Helen Nugent October 2012


If you ascribe to the view that song lyrics are essentially lines of poetry, it should come as no surprise that someone has set the works of one of Ireland’s most respected poets to music.

 

A lesser artist might have baulked at the prospect of scoring the literary canon of W B Yeats but, judging by yesterday’s performance at the Royal Northern College of Music, Christine Tobin relished the opportunity. Part of the hugely diverse Manchester Literature Festival, Tobin tackled one of poetry’s modern greats and, for the most part, succeeded in capturing Yeats’ passion and intensity.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Treasured by Ailís Ní Ríain

Treasured by Ailís Ní Ríain

Directed and created by Jen Heyes, designed by Olivia du Monceau, performed at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral

Reviewed by Denis Joe October 2012

 

There is something fitting in setting a story about the Titanic in the Anglican Cathedral: both can be seen as monumental constructions dating from periods in which the human visionary was firmly in the ascendant. The Sea Odyssey was certainly one of the most spectacular events in Liverpool this year, but Treasured turned out to surpass even that.

 

We entered the main entrance of the Cathedral, walking around piles of luggage, seeing people sitting around the luggage, reading or engaged in some other sedentary occupation. We were taken through semi-darkness, accompanied by a solo trumpet playing a tune that was neither mournful nor triumphant, into the main section of the cathedral, where we took our seats.

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Manchester music reviews

Welsh National Opera - Jephtha

Jephtha by Welsh National Opera

Reviewed by Denis Joe October 2012


Cast includes
Jephtha: Robert Murray
Zebul: Alan Ewing
Storge: Diana Montague
Iphis: Fflur Wyn
Hamor: Robin Blaze (ex 7 Nov); Andrew Radley (7 Nov)
Angel: Claire Ormshaw

Katie Mitchell’s operatic staging (this Revival Director: Robin Tebbutt) of Jephtha was first produced in 2003, was first revived in 2006 and WNO have thankfully felt it worthy of restaging.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Heretic

The Heretic by Richard Bean

Produced by The Library Theatre at The Lowry

Reviewed by Helen Nugent October 2012


A trip to a production by the Library Theatre is like a visit to the Donmar Warehouse in London: odds are you will have a thought-provoking and hugely entertaining evening. And so it was last night at a performance of ‘The Heretic’ at The Lowry.

 

Boy, Richard Bean really does know how to write great parts for actors. Anyone in any doubt of this should go and see ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’, his award-winning adaptation of a 1743 Commedia dell’arte comedy by Carlo Goldoni. Or, for that matter, ‘The Heretic’ for which Bean relies solely on his own imagination.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster

Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster

Royal Exchange, Manchester

Reviewed by Catherine Smyth September 2012


‘Now, make this known’

Those four words echoed around the auditorium as two actors silently left the stage. The packed audience at Manchester’s Royal Exchange was sitting attentively. They waited for a minute not sure whether to applaud or just to leave the theatre in the same eerie silence.

 

The Radio 4 play has been adapted for stage and presents a powerful real life drama. It gives a voice to the peace-loving unique individual that was Sophie. The 20-year-old gap year student whose life was cruelly stamped out in a gang attack in a Bacup park in 2007.

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Manchester book reviews

The Memory Eater

The Memory Eater

Stories that Erase the Past to Save the Future

To be reviewed by Sara Porter January 2013

 

The Memory Eater: Stories that Erase the Past to Save the Future. This science fiction-inspired anthology consists of 27 uniquely written and illustrated stories based on a futuristic device with the ability to locate and destroy any memory in the human mind. Each of the 24 authors wrote original stories around the concept, and 27 artists contributed a companion original piece of art for the stories.

 

The anthology was pitched to select publishers with positive feedback, but ultimately, I decided to take advantage of the evolving book publishing landscape and retain control over the book publication and distribution by raising the funds to self-publish. Today marks the launch of the Kickstarter.com fundraising campaign to raise funds to publish The Memory Eater, which is ready to print right now!

 

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Fred Done

From Nags to Riches: An Evening with Fred Done

To be reviewed by Simon Belt March 2013

 

Part of the Salford Lectures Series at Salford University, this event was presumably an initiative to develop a broader dialogue with people across and from outside the University in Salford and Manchester, and promote the University by doing so. It was in the newly refurbished Chapman Building lecture theatre, and a most professional ticketing and reception process there was too. We were even given a slick lapel badge at registration, encouraging a subtle marketing mechanism if worn by visitors afterwards.

 

The format was that of a single speaker, Fred Done, with a professorial anchor to provide some focus and structure if and when required, but essentially leaving Fred to talk about his business life. Thankfully, Fred is quite a self-effacing character so tends to focus on the people or events around him rather than himself which tends to make for a more interesting presentation most of the time. This was definitely a very interesting presentation because of who Fred is and the changes in business he elaborated.

 

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Manchester music reviews

Cry Baby at Helium Records

Cry Baby - EP & Album

Reviewed by Yvonne Cawley September 2012

 

I’m not quite sure what is going on at the moment, but there seems to be a definite 60s revival in the air. Now maybe I am a little bit more sensitive to this having, just hosted a 60s themed Murder Mystery Party (which was well ‘groovy’ by the way) with the fantastic music of the time helping to set the mood. What with the current Sainsbury’s advert with the ‘Hey, Hey, we’re the Monkees’ track and, on my recent trip to Primark, being hit with the abundance of black and white mod style clothing plus lots of psychedelic prints and short pink and blue bobbed wigs, I wondered if I was perhaps missing something.

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Manchester book reviews

Killing Daniel by Sarah Dobbs

Killing Daniel by Sarah Dobbs

To be reviewed by Yvonne Cawley January 2013

 

In Manchester Fleur is drifting through life haunted by her murdered boyfriend Daniel. In Japan Chinatsu is trying to escape a passionless marriage to Yugi Hamogoshi, a man with a secret who won't let her go. Fleur and Chinatsu used to be schoolfriends. Fleur and Chinatsu had a bond. Fleur and Chinatsu had dreams. This is the story of what happens before they can be together again. A cross-cultural thriller like no other, Sarah Dobbs' KILLING DANIEL exposes the secret lives of contrasting people with unflinching insight and lyrical prose. This is a cross-cultural thriller like no other.

 
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Manchester music reviews

Red BaraatRed Baraat at The Bridgewater Hall

Reviewed by Emma Short September 2012

 

The Bridgewater Hall played host to Sunny Jain and his 8 piece Brooklyn based collective Red Baraat on their debut UK tour as part of the London 2012 Festival. Supported by the Asian Arts Agency whose vision is to mainstream high quality Asian arts in the UK increasing cultural diversity in the creative industries, they hit the hall with force. A veritable explosion of the North Indian Bhangra rhythm, funk, salsa, go-go hip hop style syncopation and audience call and response, within a strong grounding of jazz, brought their fusion flavour alive to the eagerly awaiting audience.

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